It has been a good year. I have had the chance to add value on my activities and I have felt the multiplier effect. All as a result of doing what I love, with passion, and enjoying being part and building a real collaboration ecosystem. I have been traveling around invited by companies and organizations, a good experience most would say; for me, the people that I have met are the most valuable aspect in my life right now -- young people creating impact, older people that trust in young people, and others that are simply extraordinary on inspiring and creating change. Those who don't lose hope.
One Young World is no less than the most international and diverse of youth gathering in the world; more than a thousand young leaders, activists, social entrepreneurs and people from the private sector probably in the middle of their inflexion point. World leaders who trusted once again in this initiative, taking the chance to inspire and promote impact all around the world, showing that we should take the risk and improve the state of the world.
My first official friend at One Young World (OYW) injected me more energy than anyone in a long time. 30 hours without sleep but I was making my best to listen to her in the bus. She gave me her business card, made just for the summit, and I heard about her Masters, the hard time learning a new language and her projects with refugees in Italy. My first friend in South Africa was from Syria. I also wanted to cry when she stood on stage while she was recognized by the organizers.
For this OYW, I wanted to experiment something different and spread a new message. I was the only one from my country, Costa Rica. This time, I didn't want to hear about innovation, technology or leadership. It was other things that caught me. It is the time of social business and we need it more than ever.
Days got me closer with friends from Congo. They were joking with each other just before they explained to me that one of them was from Congo and the other from Democratic Republic of Congo, countries in war. I was also close to the delegate from Côte d'Ivoire and she asked me about my country. She was not exactly sure about the location but she knew that we are a country without an army and she asked, "How is that possible" and my Congo friends said, "How do you protect your people?". I also had my questions, for example to our friend from Comodos, I did not know about his country but I was glad to know that they have young leaders, the same thing for Eritrea, Slovenia, Burundi, Nigeria, Palestine and countries from the Caribbean like Cuba and the Latin American region.
I really enjoyed when counsellors introduced young delegates to every session. I walked every morning from my hotel to the convention center. I did check in on foursquare in Mandela Square and the outdoors break out session in the Grassroot Soccer Project Soweto taught me a lot. It is incredible the possible impact just using the power of an idea, a simple concept applied to educate and fight world issues like HIV and AIDS.
Leadership and Government was the last plenary and a very active session. I was the last delegate to make a comment. I asked those 1,300 delegates from 198 countries why their countries need an army. My country abolished it more than 60 years ago, creating from that an alternative to promote development, democracy and direct efforts where they should go, investing in education and sustainability. I tried to encourage them to propose governments to abolish their armies. I finished my comment with this simple statement: "it is freaking great to not have an army."
I missed my flight back home with no regrets because It was a enormous pleasure to meet my friend and am extraordinary human being from Luxembourg in the city tours during the last day. We bought some souvenirs in the market and heard kids singing gospel with a natural happiness that would remind in our minds forever. I had the chance to explain to a 16-year-old japanese boy with great potential the difference between working in the government and working with the government.
All of us received one of the best pieces of advice: to sleep well. I traveled with a message and got back with an enforced mission and compromises with this world. Fortunately we are not alone.